:Build a Better Dystopia
A Review by
- 2-6 Players
- 60 minutes
- 13+ Age
Control. Euphoria is all about control. Control Workers, Control Information, Control Knowledge, Control your Opponents. After all, YOU and only you know what the tattered remains of civilization require going forward to build a better tomorrow, today. Building for the future is not easy. There are others who misguidedly think that their foolish ideas are superior to your vision for a utopian future. As for the common people they need to understand. You know what is best for them and their families. If they learn too much they will be doomed to repeat history. And if there is one thing history has shown is “Too much information is a dangerous thing”. Their brains are not equipped to deal with the knowledge and they might start to think they have a different way. You need to save them from themselves. You will be the leader of the future.
What is in Euphoria?
Beauty. Not the fools amorous idea of beauty. But rather the states controlled and safe for all, beauty. When you open your Container you will find.
- 1 Game Board.
- 24 Dice.
- 48 Recruit Cards.
- 36 Artifact Cards.
- 18 Market Tiles.
- 6 Ethical Dilemma cards.
- 45 Wood Resource Tokens.
- 72 Wood Commodity Tokens.
- 3 Wood Miners.
- 4 Wood Progress Tokens.
- 6 Wood Moral Tokens (1 in each player colour).
- 6 Wood Knowledge Tokens (1 in each player colour).
- 60 Wood Authority Stars (10 in each player colour).
- 6 Multiplier Markers.
- 6 Allegiance Tokens.
In Euphoria you will lead your workers (represented as Dice) and your trusted Recruits (represented as Cards), in a bid to claim this dystopian future for yourself. You will generate commodities, Build Markets, Form allegiances, Collect pre-apocalyptic artefacts, dig tunnels in attempts to infiltrate the opposition and fulfil secret agendas. All of this in an effort to pave your way to authority and victory.
How do you Dystopia?
Euphoria, Is achieved via the use of a small group of workers, two trusty recruits and your own vision and foresight. You start with just two workers represented by those cubes of knowledge that the ancients called “Dyce?” The markings on these cubes represent the amount of knowledge each worker has. If they gain too much knowledge they will question what you have told them as being the truth and may even flee from your protective embraces. Your recruits will allow you access to bonuses and define your initial allegiance to one of the four factions. Initially only one of these recruits is loyal and gives you a bonus. The second will activate during the game either through your guile or the mistaken actions of others (how foolish they are to even think of questioning you).
Use these workers to construct markets allowing you to impose restrictions of freedom on those that would oppose your claim to authority. Make sure you confiscate artefacts from the old world that your workers might find. These artefacts can only sow the seeds of dissent in those of a lesser mind. Besides the stronger willed dystopian elite will reward you handsomely with large areas of land just to posses even one pair of these ancient objects of leisure. Only by the deft use of your authority will you claim victory over those that would oppose you.
So what does this all mean to you as a player? Each player starts the game with 10 authority tokens. First player to play their tenth token wins game over end of the story. There are four factions in Euphoria,
- The Icarites who dwell in the clouds.
- The Subterrans whose life exists underground.
- The Wastelanders scraping their living out in the ruins of the past.
- The Euphorians existing in comfort in the great city.
Each of these factions has a commodity associated with it which is used a little like “in-game currency” and a corresponding resource* which you use to build markets.*Icarites are exceptions as they do not need to construct markets*. By the use of resources and commodities you will construct markets to allow you to place authority tokens and also to claim territory with authority tokens.
Normally in worker placement games, placing a worker is an acceptable and common way of not only taking an action. But also denying an opponent the chance to take that action for themselves. Euphoria is very different, there is no blocking in that respect. Instead there is “bumping”. This is a very clever twist on the worker placement mechanism because whenever a worker is bumped or returned to its owner it is re-rolled for its knowledge level. If this new number when added to existing unplaced workers exceeds a preset amount. Then the worker with the highest numerical value “runs away” (is returned to the general supply). This is a big twist on conventional worker placement thinking and requires a different strategical approach. Effectively you can “hurt players by giving them their workers back”.
Knowledge and Moral.
Within a game of Euphoria you will face a constant struggle. You will be trying to gain moral as this will allow you to hold more cards thus giving you a chance to purchase land with artefact cards and place authority tokens. But going hand in hand with this is the use of knowledge too much knowledge and you might find yourself losing workers.
Yes in a word. Every game of Euphoria feels tight and well balanced. It is in essence a worker placement race game unrelenting. It starts off slowly with you struggling to get an authority token out here or there. However as the game progresses these tokens start to appear much more quickly. Markets, allegiance tracks, territories all of them suddenly seeming to fill with stars. I myself have said several times “If I had one more turn I would have won” and I am not alone in saying it.
This is more than just a board game. How often do you hear that claim? Well not from me today, well OK maybe a little. Euphoria is dripping with theme. If you have the right group you will find yourself telling the story. All of the actions help to paint a backdrop that feels full of dystopian menace. It is such a refreshing change to be faced with a game that is not about a market rush or farm battle. This feeling is enhanced by the sumptuous artwork and component quality. No card punch tokens here it is wooden shaped pieces that help even further with that thematic immersion.
Euphoria is a good game. I would even go so far as to say it is a very good game indeed. The rules are not overly complicated and should be picked up quite quickly. The subtleties of play are what encourage you to come back and play again. Initially the number of choices will feel daunting but yet again this trepidation over too much choice will quickly pass. But any game if you look hard enough will have some flaws and it is only right and proper to share my thoughts of these with you. First “Luck” Euphoria does have some elements of luck involved. Now this is something that worker placement purists frown on, I disagree. Yes as you re-roll your dice a lucky or unlucky roll might help or hinder your progress. But you will get a chance to recover because you will get to roll again later and your opponents will also be facing those similar rolls. Even so it can sometimes feel frustrating. Next thing for me is the Dilemma cards. There is not enough variety in them. They all feel very similar. I would really have liked to see more variation in the dilemmas you faced. Oddly enough this would have potentially increased the luck element in a different direction. (some people are never pleased hey). Finally for me are the recruit cards. Some of the bonuses they provide can seem incredibly powerful. NOT unbalanced just very strong compared to others (the way you play them is important it can make a huge difference). None of these are game breaking in any shape or form. But are definitely worth mentioning.
- Artwork is truly gorgeous.
- Board is very nicely laid out and iconography is easy to understand.
- Lots of variability of powers and choices.
- Fast play.
- Very little AP potential due to “bumping”.
- Plays up to 6 players.
- Strategy and Theme, by the bucketload.
- Bumping, novel twist on worker placement.
- Luck element of dice will be off putting to some.
- Lack of variety to dilemmas.
- Recruits, some seem very powerful while others seem weaker.
Euphoria is a very good worker placement game with some nice wrinkles. It deserves a place on your shelf and rightly deserves its high ranking on Board Game Geeks website. It has a nice pace of play and scales very well from 2 to 6.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a full copy of Euphoria in order to review the game. This in no way affected the review above